NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Former Cosby kid Tempestt Bledsoe and singer Vanessa Williams are among the celebrities in New Orleans for the Essence Music Festival. Essence Fest is one of the premier music festivals celebrating black culture and music.
In a good jazz rhythm section, the players function independently and as one. Their parts and accents crisscross and reinforce each other, interlocking like West African drummers. Beyond that, the bass is a band's ground floor. When it changes up, the earth shifts under all the players' feet. From moment to moment, Linda Oh's bass prowls or gallops, takes giant downward leaps, or stands its ground.
Opening day of the Essence Music Festival is kicking off with events geared for the young.
Crime, education and issues affecting today's youth will be tackled during the day at the Morial Convention Center before teen musical acts hit the stage at the Superdome.
Among the day's speakers are New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who launched a mentoring project called "Saving Our Sons," to help curb crime and violence in the city. His wife, Cheryl, launched "Girl Up NOLA," which seeks to inspire and motivate young girls.
Ernie K-Doe poses outside his Mother-In-Law Lounge during Jazz Fest in New Orleans in 2001. He died a few months later and was buried in St. Louis Cemetery No. 2.
Credit Pat Jolly / AP
Antoinette K-Doe (second from the left) stands with friends around a statue of her deceased husband, Ernie, at the St. Louis No. 2 tomb. Antoinette is buried in the tomb, and her mother — Ernie K-Doe's second and favorite mother-in-law, Leola Clark — is shown in the portrait. Clark is buried in the tomb, too.
Credit Courtesy of Rob Florence
Earl King on stage at the 1997 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He died a few years after Ernie K-Doe, and now the two share a tomb.
There's so much water in, around and underneath New Orleans, that the dead spend eternity in tombs above ground.
Most of the tombs now have a similar design: On top, there's space for a wooden coffin or two, and at the bottom lies a potpourri of decanted family remains. Sooner or later, whoever is up high must vacate and settle lower, making room for the newly dead. That's how families stay together — in a desiccated jumble of grandpas, grandmas, siblings and cousins.
If there was any doubt that The dB's have any use for being considered through the haze of memory, or limited to the misty fondness from fans who remember them from the early 80s, the blast that opens their new album Falling Off the Sky, a song called "That Time Is Gone," could not be more explicit. Group leaders Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, along with drummer Will Rigby and bassist Gene Holder, are taking back their sound after 30 years, sprucing it up and re-exploding it for the days we live in now.
"These ideas of mine / percolate the mind," Fiona Apple sings in "Every Single Night," the song that opens her new album, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do. Some people are going to listen to the entire record and come away with the feeling that the percolation in Apple's mind has bubbled over like a coffee pot left on a stove too long. But for me and perhaps for you, Apple's bubbling thoughts, words and music are thrilling — eager and direct, heedless about being judged or misunderstood.